First Look: Samurai Assassin Film ‘Bunraku’

Published 5 years ago by , Updated August 8th, 2012 at 7:08 am,

Bunraku image gallery First Look: Samurai Assassin Film Bunraku

There are films that we hear a lot about, from their announcement right up until their release (and often beyond). And then there are films you hear little-to-nothing about until the date of their first major showing draws near.

An example of the latter is Bunraku, an upcoming fantasy/action film from writer/director Guy Moshe. The film merges the stylings of the East and the West, utilizing the likes of samurai and assassins. It’s set to premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

If you find the title strange, then wait until you a get a load of the diverse cast: Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Ron Perlman and Demi Moore (amongst others). That cast alone is worth the price of admission!

Today we have our first look at Bunraku via some images from the official TIFF website. They are pretty stunning and definitely pique my interest. But before we get to the images, here’s the official synopsis for the movie to clue you in:

In a world with no guns, a mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett), a young samurai and a bartender (Woody Harrelson) plot revenge against a ruthless leader (Ron Perlman) and his army of thugs, headed by nine diverse and deadly assassins. This visually stunning film is filled with uniquely choreographed action sequences of a new style that melds east with west and old school with new.

Now check out the gallery of striking Bunraku images:

I don’t know about you, but I very much like the look and sound of this film. I’m all for twisting and contorting genres, merging them with one another to create something unique. In Bunraku‘s case, it’s “east meets west and old school meets new.” Admittedly, this isn’t the first film to do this and quite recently there have been examples such as The Good, The Bad, The Weird and Sukiyaki Western Django.

But where those two took the Eastern style and mixed it literally with Westerns (cowboys and six shooters etc.), Bunraku takes samurais and such from the East and simply mixes those tropes with a more general western style.

Added to the weirdly gorgeous visuals and the cool plot, we also have a killer cast to enjoy in their respective roles. Hartnett is a solid, often under-appreciated leading man; Woody Harrelson seems to be able to do no wrong (even in bad movies he’s fun); Demi Moore is very watchable when she picks the right roles (in more ways than one, if you know what I’m saying icon razz First Look: Samurai Assassin Film Bunraku ); and if you need to know why Ron Perlman is awesome then are you sure you’re reading the right website?

If Bunraku is received well at TIFF this year, I imagine it won’t be long before it’s picked up by a distributor and given a general release. It may end up being another one of those films that only plays to a niche audience (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World being a very recent example) but that certainly won’t stop me from seeing it.

Bunraku will premiere at TIFF as part of the festival’s “Midnight Madness” program.

Source: Official TIFF website

TAGS: Bunraku
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  1. Midnight Screening!!!!! Can’t wait! Love me some JHart!!!

  2. hmm josh as a samurai..INTERESTING lol

    • Josh Hartnett is not playing a samurai. His character, known as “The Drifter” is said to be a gypsy. “Yoshi”, played by Gackt, is the samurai :)

  3. The visuals remind me of Dick Tracy. This might be something I have to keep on the geek-radar.

    What other ways do you mean about looking at Demi Moore?

    (crickets chirping)

    Why are all you guys looking at me that way?

    Calling you a petaQ would be an insult to petaQs!!


  4. meh, when is CUP OF TEARS coming out

  5. It’s like… The opposite of Sukiyaki Western Django. With… Dick Tracy.

  6. this sounds…….. mega-awesome. not just good , not just awesome ….but mega-awesome !!! ( and that’s a lot ).

    I hadn’t read about this one but I’m VERY interested now.
    Hartnett -awesome.
    Harelson -awesome.
    Pearslman -awesome .
    Moore -awesome and yummy.

    the pictures all look pretty cool and I really dig the concept.
    I’m looking forward to this one :)

  7. this sounds…….. mega-awesome. not just good , not just awesome ….but mega-awesome !!! ( and that’s a lot ).

    I hadn’t read about this one but I’m VERY interested now.
    Hartnett -awesome.
    Harrelson -awesome.
    Pearlman -awesome .
    Moore -awesome and yummy.

    the pictures all look pretty cool and I really dig the concept.
    I’m looking forward to this one :)

  8. After two years of waiting for this movie, I’m glad some people are finally starting to take notice. However, the writer of this article failed to mention the main reason that a large number of girls (and some guys) will be going to see this movie; Gackt! Gackt is a talented Japanese musician/actor who plays a role in Bunraku known as the “young samurai” named Yoshi.

    • maybe you snould have written the article then….

      • I’m sorry if what I said was offensive. I was not trying to be rude or insult the author. It just struck me as odd that the character was mentioned, but not the actor. Gackt is playing a main character, and I think that deserves at least a passing comment.

        • I and many others are going to see this film because GACKT is in it! You are right that he should be mentioned in the article as he plays one of the main characters. He is not well known in the US but is star in Asia. I discovered GACKT by accident, and he instantly became my favorite singer. His voice is stunning. He is truly talented. He sings beautifully, writes beautifully, is a master of several instruments, can speak several foreign languages, and is a decent person on top of all that.

          • Touche <3 I haven't heard about this movie, but Gackt+Samurai? Must see. Even if it is a western film.

    • Ok, I need glasses. Based on the photo I was halfway convinced the samurai was a girl.

      • Gackt and Hyde try to look as Fem as possible, apparently it’s a big thing over in Japan now, kinda like how it was big over here in the 80s with Prince. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was actually a new-half, smh

  9. Sorry Emily but I’m a girl and I really don’t care about this skinny little “thing” that you call ‘Gackt’. I’m interesting in BUNRAKU because I love the concept of the film (girls love genre movies too). This film does sound…….. mega-awesome indeed. Besides I totally agree with you Ross Miller: Josh Hartnett is a solid, totally under-appreciated leading man. I’m sure his performance will suprise many. As for Woody Harrelson, Ron Perlman, Kevin McKidd, Jordi Molla and Demi Moore, they are all reliable character actors. Can’t wait to see BUNRAKU! Thanks for article Ross.

    • That’s perfectly fine. I’m glad that you’re interested in the movie itself. The movie does sound very interesting, but the main reason that I’ve kept tabs on this movie for two years is the “skinny little thing”. I admire his talents, regardless of his appearance, and his addition to the list of very talented actors was simply the cherry on top.

    • Um… “skinny little thing”? That “little skinny thing” holds the male soloist record of most top 10 singles in Japanese music history. He’s a very talented man, so although I respect your opinion and think it’s good that you’re interested in the movie for good reasons, I don’t like you refering him to “the skinny little thing that you call Gackt”. Have some respect.
      Besides, he’s not that skinny. < I think he has a very hot body <3

  10. “In a world without guns”?
    Yet Woody is using a pistol shaped lighter, and the uniform guy is wearing a pistol belt. This doesn’t suggest a “world without guns”.

    Anyways. Can still be cool. Or it might fall on it’s face. Gotta wait and see.

  11. Woody Harrelson and Samurai – Awesome.

  12. This looks weird and cool. The cast isnt bad either! I remember hearing Hartnett’s name mentioned for Superman, and for ages I thought it was the worst idea of all time, then I thought about it…Yeah maybe.

  13. It looks like an awesome movie and I’m so excited to see GACKT in the big screen with other wonderful actors!
    It sure took a while!!

  14. GACKUTO!!!
    Midngith showing, most definitely.

  15. Yeah! Gackt rulez!!!!! ^_^
    Keith Calder became a fan after watching his show Diabolos and Josh like him a lot, this man is totally amazing. Second time seeing him in a movie (that is not a vampire one this time) and second time as a samurai (after Fuurin Kazan) will be awesome!

  16. GACKTO-SAMA!!!!
    I can’t wait to see this movie…. and GACKT in big screen, thought I wonder if he will speak Japanese or English…

    Midnight screening that for sure, and sorry in advance for the GACKTO-SAN scream… LOL XD

  17. I am so looking forward to seeing Gackt in this. I have watched him online. Very impressed, girly looks and all. One of the most talented people I have ever seen. Don’t understand a word he is saying but impressive all the same.